One way God communicates with us is through signs. We may not see Him, but we recognize things that happen as evidence that He is mindful of us.
On some occasions, those signs have been dramatic and unmistakeable, such as the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 7-12), or the signs of the Savior’s birth and death on the American continent (Helaman 14, 3 Nephi 1, 8-10). Other times, signs happen on a smaller scale and may be intended only for a small group of people or even a single individual. During His mortal ministry, Jesus sometimes asked the recipients of a miracle not to share what they had experienced. (See, for example, Matthew 8:1-4, Mark 9:2-9, Luke 8:49-56.)
After God gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, He explained to the children of Israel that their observance of the fourth commandment—keeping the Sabbath Day holy—would also function as a sign. Not a sign from Him to them, but a sign from them to Him:
Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you….
Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever.Exodus 31:13, 16-17
Many years later, the prophet Ezekiel emphasized this principle:
I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them ….
Hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the Lord your God.Ezekiel 20:12, 20
Thinking of Sabbath observance as a message we send to God can be liberating. President Russell M. Nelson shared how this concept revolutionized his approach to the Sabbath Day:
How do we hallow the Sabbath day? In my much younger years, I studied the work of others who had compiled lists of things to do and things not to do on the Sabbath. It wasn’t until later that I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, “What sign do I want to give to God?” That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.“The Sabbath Is a Delight,” General Conference, April 2015
Today, I will think about the messages I am sending to God by the way I spend my Sundays. As I plan my activities for this Sunday, I will strive to fill the day with actions that communicate my love for God and my devotion to Him.